case study

Focusing on the key issues helped to improve OEE and more

Deli Solutions, based in Clitheroe, Lancs, produce Olives and Antipasti for several of the major supermarket chains. Bought-in raw materials (olives, sundried tomatoes, oils, etc.) are mixed/prepared according to a recipe and are delivered to semi-automatic packaging lines for packaging.

Deli are part of the Winterbotham Darby Group, the award-winning food business that predominantly supplies own label chilled food to major supermarket chains in the UK. Priding themselves on building long term relationships with their clients, the Group have a stated objective to focus on product quality and a commercial approach that aims to ensure the best value to their clients.

"In order to make improvements, we needed a much better indication of where our process bottlenecks were and what was causing them"
Martyn McDonnell, Factory Planner

The Deli Solutions team recognise the importance of these objectives, and prior to working with Gemba had been using Excel spread-sheets to record the amount of cases produced per line/shift and were reporting this against a standard. This gave staff a general idea of how well the production process was functioning, but didn’t give any detail on the when, where or why of problems. This really limited the team’s ability to get to the root cause of issues and make  changes to prevent recurrences.

Working with Gemba

Deli’s General Manager, Douglas Bathgate, selected Gemba Solutions to help, primarily due to the success of the Gemba system at Westland Garden Health.

"We had seen Gemba’s Production Efficiency Software in action at Westland" said Douglas. "Their production model and SKU count were very similar to Deli’s and it made sense to use something that was proven to work in a similar environment."

"The two companies share an investor who was very impressed with the information and results that the Gemba system was already delivering at Westland."
Martyn McDonnell, Factory Planner

Initially, the team decided to pilot Gemba’s solution on one of its packaging lines. "When we began working with the Gemba system, we were able to drill down in to our data using the system’s reporting function", commented Martyn. When the data shows a problem on the line, the system allows team members to look at each of the different areas on the line to home-in on the issue, and then to drill down again to the specific cause of the problem. "This now enables us to target the actual area of downtime," said Martyn.

The Benefits

The work that the Deli team has done in utilising the data from the Gemba system has resulted in a 20% increase in OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). Line speeds have also increased by a minimum of 10%.

Douglas sees huge benefit in being able to access focused, reliable and unambiguous data relating to line speeds and downtime. “Having access to this data has allowed us to focus on the correct areas and put the right amount of resource to gain the most benefit, said Douglas.

"As a result of this, downtime has decreased as issues are being fixed and are no longer hidden in amongst the data."
Douglas Bathgate, General Manager

Martyn agrees that the Gemba system has allowed Deli to monitor the output of production more closely, and to focus on the real problem areas, also commenting that the system has been easy to integrate in to Deli’s daily routines and reporting procedures. 

The 6 displays on the shop-floor allow staff to see how they are performing against target, in real-time, as opposed to getting an hourly update of progress prior to the Gemba system being installed. This means that action can be taken as soon as production begins to fall below target, and losses can be minimised.

"The staff have embraced the system and use large overhead Andon displays to monitor their performance in real-time"
Martyn McDonnell, Factory Planner

Deli Solutions have used a simple, 3-colour coding system on the screens to incorporate a continuous improvement aspect in to what they do: Target ‘pots per minute’ is shown in white on the left of the screen and actual ‘pots per minute’ is shown on the right. The "actual" figure changes colour according to progress, so red signifies that progress is below target, yellow shows that the team is meeting their planning target and green means that their CI (Continuous Improvement) target has been reached or exceeded.  The data is then analysed by the Deli team so that they can begin to meet this higher target on a consistent basis.  The Gemba system has now been expanded at the Clitheroe site to cover a further 5 lines, and future expansion is planned.

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